Years ago, I learned from Jay Hughes' book "Family Wealth" the importance of having assets beyond financial capital. What Hughes called "human capital" I refer to this as the "Who You Know Assets" which often find themselves even more valuable than the assets you have in your bank account. This is an important lesson for us, as parents, to impart upon our children.

When we moved to Westport, we quickly started to build our list of go-to professionals for the "what ifs" that happen in life. This list includes health professionals for the kids such as pediatrician or plastic surgeon, home aids such as electrician or plumber -- the list goes on and on.

Our criteria for the people on our list of course starts with the skill they have in their craft, but it's also important that we believe these professionals will be super-responsive when we need them most. For example, when you need a qualified plumber you usually need them now and not two weeks down the line when your house is submerged under water. Their willingness to get in the truck and immediately get over to your home is always appreciated and often a difference maker.

We just had another reminder of the importance of this last week.

My wife and I finally decided to get away for a few days -- just the two of us. Many of you will get a chuckle when I tell you that the stress leading up to the trip in figuring out who would watch the kids, preparing the meals for them to eat while we were gone, coordinating transportation to and from all of their many activities, seemed to create a stress that had us questioning how this vacation was going to be "good" for us.

As Murphy's Law would have it, we are not even there for 24 hours when the phone rang and it was our Westport pediatrician, Dr. Nikki Gorman, to tell us she was at Kings Highway Elementary where our son Spencer had fallen and cut his lip and would need stitches. How she got over there before we had even had the chance to personally call her is still somewhat of a mystery, but obviously one we're thankful for.

I can't begin to tell you how our list of go-to professionals paid off in a big way as my father knew exactly who to call when Spencer got hurt. And I'll pat ourselves on the back in choosing not only a competent pediatrician, but one we knew would go above and beyond in such a situation.

Dr. Gorman then made sure Spencer was ushered to Dr. Al Sofer, the plastic surgeon on our go-to list, who seemingly dropped everything he was working on to not only fit Spencer in that day for the stitches, but put in multiple calls to us the parents, helping to put our minds at ease.

And while having money in a bank account is certainly helpful, it is our human capital balance sheet that is often more valuable.

It doesn't hurt to give our children a little reminder to "dig that well before they're thirsty" in putting relationship building on par with asset building throughout their personal wealth building process.

Author's Bio: 

Tom Henske is a Westport resident and partner with Lenox Advisors, a wealth management firm with offices in New York and Stamford. His "Money-Smart Kids" appears every other Wednesday. He can be reached at: